ELI SANDERS: Your article [July 8] on the potential ban on bar and restaurant smoking left out an important argument against banning smoking: FREEDOM. If you don't like smelling like an ashtray, why are you working as a bartender? If you don't want to inhale secondhand smoke, why are you hanging around it? You can't argue that it's for health reasons or you'd have to outlaw liquor and bars altogether. Marijuana supporters have long been aware of that ridiculous hypocrisy. Furthermore, going to a bar once or twice a week and inhaling smoke is not bad for your health. If you're going more than that, then why don't you worry about your drinking habit instead and leave me out of your misplaced control issues?

Which brings us to the real issue. Most people who try to get others to change do so because they are too chicken to take responsibility for themselves and too afraid to change themselves. Stop trying to make me live how you want. Take care of yourself and we'll all be a lot happier, starting with you.

Amy Alvord

ELI SANDERS: Partying in bars ain't supposed to be a healthy activity. Shit, you think alcohol is good for you? The only time I smoke is when I'm drinking. I like to do 'em at the same time. And what about those big honkin' air cleaners you see in all the nice bars now? Like Eddie Izzard said: "No smoking in bars, and soon, no drinking and no talking."

Don Carter

STRANGER: Regarding Josh Feit's report of KEXP DJ Matt Nichols' arrest ["Unhappy Birthday," July 15]: Was Mr. Feit attempting to champion the cause of domestic violence victims by treating the entire city to a rehash of the police report? Did Garman's girlfriend tell Mr. Feit and The Stranger that she wanted the details of the police report included in his piece? And if Mr. Feit never spoke with her, did he think he was doing Mr. Garman's girlfriend, and The Stranger's readership, a service by including those details in his report?

Domestic violence is terrible. I know people who have experienced it, and I don't condone it under any circumstances. But neither do I condone the vulgar and unnecessary inclusion of selected details of the police report in Mr. Feit's article in The Stranger. First, it violates the privacy of both Garman and his girlfriend. Surely Mr. Feit is not naive enough to believe that a mere airing of dirty laundry is going to inspire people in our community to work harder to "make a difference." Even if Garman's girlfriend was consulted, out of courtesy, to ask if it was all right for Mr. Feit to include the details, the very inclusion of them smacks of the "shocking" reports in any supermarket tabloid, where accounts of "shocking reality" become commonplace and numbing, and the cultural point is not to address issues but to appear righteous in the act of dragging a person's name through the mud. I believe what is truly shocking about this incident is not the details, but that it cuts to the heart of our particular community. Scapegoating one member of our community before he has his day in court will not effectively address the problem of domestic violence among The Stranger's readership.

Finally, I am saddened by the eagerness with which Mr. Feit rushes to condemn Garman, before Garman's hearing on July 26, and before his trial date is set. I would suggest a more responsible use of The Stranger's position and power in the community would have been to wait to report upon the incident in detail until after Garman's case had been dealt with in the courts.

Andrea Maxand


STRANGER: Josh Feit's letter ["Letters to Other Editors," July 15] raised many important news-reporting questions. The most important question being, "Who gives a shit?" The letter represents the worst thing about the news media. Is the purpose of news reporting to, without bias, inform the public? What difference does it make what newspaper breaks wind on a story first, the Times or The Stranger? It all stinks. I find it irritating that the news--television, print, and radio--see news reporting as a competition. What you don't realize, Josh, is that none of you can win. Because you are all losers.
Dave Aiken


CHARLES MUDEDE: As a lifetime resident of Rainier Beach and Southeast Seattle, I want to say thank you for finally bringing the truth out about my beautiful part of town ["Here Comes Everybody," July 15]. I went to Southcenter Mall every weekend growing up, and I've always felt lucky to be around every color and every type of person that you can imagine. Even in a city like Seattle that claims to be so open minded and progressive, we are still very segregated and ignorant. I can't count on my fingers and toes the amount of times I was told my friends from other areas of Seattle couldn't come to my house because of where I lived. It is a quiet acceptance of every race, color, religious belief, class, and social standing that makes this area different.
Amy O'Connell

DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS: In a regretful oversight, we failed to credit the artist of last week's cover (13-44). His name is Ezra Li Eismont of Oakland, California, and his website is Also on last week's cover, we managed to misspell the word "decibel," which was just plain stupid.